Tag Archives: restaurant

Aroma Brazil – Jackson Heights, Queens

Aroma Brazil – Jackson Heights, Queens – September 3, 2015

Aroma Brazil is a welcome addition to the Jackson Heights food scene. Brazilian food is a new cuisine to an area dominated by restaurants serving either South Asian food or food from Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

The food is served buffet style. In addition to the buffet table, there is a window where patrons can order from a list of barbecued meats. If you only take food from the buffet table, it costs $5.99 a pound. Barbecued meats are $6.99 a pound. There are also options available for dessert, including a passion fruit mousse for $4.00. I did not try it this time, but I may have to go back for it in the future. You can dine in or take food to go. We picked up food to bring home, but I still did a full review as if we dined in.

I only took food from the buffet table: shredded greens, roasted vegetables, quinoa, roast chicken, breaded fish, sausage, and black beans. It came to just over $8.00 for all of that food. Overall, the food was quite tasty. The greens were bright green, and had a pleasant garlic flavor. They were a bit tough to chew. The roasted vegetables were cooked just right. The quinoa had the surprising addition of raisins, which I thought I would not like, but I did. The beans were a hearty and savory complement to the sweet quinoa. The chicken was a bit dry, probably from sitting in the warmers on the buffet. What I liked very much was that the food was not too salty, as food from a buffet can sometimes be.

Background: Window with Aroma Brazil Logo Top Left Inset: My Meal Bottom Right Inset: Buffet

Background: Window with Aroma Brazil Logo      Top Left Inset: My Meal      Bottom Right Inset: Buffet

Accessibility Rating for Aroma Brazil

I used my wheelchair to visit Aroma Brazil.

  • Entryway – 5: There are two wide doors. There are no stairs at the entrance.  The transition from outside to inside is smooth.

    Entrance

    Entrance

  • Bathroom 3: The bathroom was difficult to enter and exit at the time we were at Aroma Brazil. The reason for this was that there was a table and chairs for four placed directly in front of the door. While the door was quite wide, the table and chairs had to be moved quite a bit to allow me to enter and exit. There are two grab bars around the toilet. I could not fit underneath the sink while in my wheelchair. The sink has short faucet handles. I was able to make a full 360º turn in the bathroom in my wheelchair. The bathroom was brightly lit.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The interior space has some tight spaces where I had to be very careful not to bump into objects. I almost burned my elbow on the buffet counter because it was quite hot and at the height of my elbow while in my wheelchair. I got too close to it, and I immediately felt the heat and quickly pulled my elbow away. This is something the owner(s)/manager(s) need to consider to prevent injuries. Additionally, had my husband not been with me, it would have posed an additional challenge in terms of serving myself from the buffet. The space is brightly lit, and while there was some background music, it was relatively quiet at the time we were there. I was unable to fit underneath the tables, even with my footrests lifted up.

    Left: Looking Toward Rear of the Restaurant Right: Looking Outside From Dining Room

    Left: Looking Toward Rear of the Restaurant      Right: Looking Outside From Dining Room

  • Staff – 2: There were no offers of help from any identified staff members. I hoped that the staff would have offered to help me get food from the buffet table, but this did not happen. The gentleman who helped my husband move tables and chairs so I could access the bathroom appeared to be either a manager or owner, but we were not sure. That is why I gave a rating of a 2 instead of a 1.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


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100th Post – Burnside Biscuits – Astoria, Queens

100th Post – Burnside Biscuits – Astoria, Queens – August 28, 2015Yellow and orange starburst against dark blue background with text stating "The Disabled Foodie's 100th Post" and The Disabled Foodie logo of cartoon man in wheelchair holding a sandwich

Thank you for helping me reach my 100th post! Without you, I would not have gotten this far.

There has been quite a bit of talk about Burnside Biscuits, the fried chicken and biscuits restaurant recently opened by the creators of Bareburger. This includes a mention on Eater in the article, “The Hottest Restaurants in Queens Right Now, August 2015. ” There is always intense competition in the NYC food scene to see who makes the best fried chicken, and now Burnside Biscuits is entering theirs into the arena. According to their website:

“While the excitement and diligence continues for Bareburger with global expansion, they have decided to roll up their sleeves and dip their hands into the world of southern comfort… [Burnside Biscuits] focuses on giving back to the community that raised its founders while celebrating local, organic sourcing. Burnside offers a new twist on the classic comfort foods. Fried chicken, biscuit sandwiches and wood-fired vegetables, all from a scratch-kitchen…” (http://www.burnsidebiscuit.com/about-momentum/, 2015)

Fried chicken and biscuits! What a great way to kick off a weekend! Especially since we had three friends join us to try this restaurant. We dined outside, which was nice, but was also due to accessibility issues that you will read about below. The food turned out to be quite good, but the accessibility left quite a bit to be desired.

Upon being seated, appetizers immediately and unexpectedly started to arrive at the table (You will learn why in the Accessibility Rating below). The staff brought us Sticky Black Jack Carrots, cornbread, and a pickle plate. The carrots were roasted to the point of being charred and glazed, and came with a carrot sauce, fresh pickled Persian cucumber, and fennel. I have never had carrots cooked this way, and they were excellent! The carrots were smoky and sweet. The pickled cucumber and fennel cut through the charred flavors with their bright tastes. The cornbread is made with local cornmeal, and it came with maple cultured butter and chives. I am a big fan of cornbread, and this was a good one. It was lightly sweet from the corn, and while it was not too dense it  retained the typical grainy texture that a good cornbread has. The pickle plate had cucumbers, fennel, okra, and beets. The vegetables were lightly sour and crisp.

My husband and I ordered drinks. The drinks came in tiny champagne bowls, and for $12.00 each, that was quite expensive for the small size of the drinks. I got a Tea Thyme: house-made sweet tea with vodka, lemon, and thyme. It was a “high-octane” tea, and the flavors of the black tea and the thyme came to the forefront. He ordered a Crusta: brandy with maraschino, lemon, and a sugar rim. I did not like his drink, but I am not a fan of brandy.

As a table, we ordered two more appetizers. The first was the baked and crispy potatoes. These were very crispy on the outside, but still soft on the inside. They came topped with parmesan, smoked salt, and a side of green goddess dressing. The dressing had a pronounced licorice flavor from what tasted like anise seed. I did not find it necessary to add the dressing to the potatoes, as they were great on their own. The second appetizer we shared was the pimento crack mac & cheese. It had sharp cheddar, gouda, pimento, cornbread crumbs, and a pile of scallions. The pimento flavor was really present in this dish, and I really enjoyed the peppery punch alongside the taste of the cheeses.

Appetizers Clockwise from Top Left: Sticky Black Jack Carrots, Pickle Plate, Baked & Crispy Potatoes, & Pimento Crack Mac & Cheese Center: Neon Sign for Burnside Biscuits

Appetizers Clockwise from Top Left: Sticky Black Jack Carrots, Pickle Plate, Baked & Crispy Potatoes, & Pimento Crack Mac & Cheese      Center: Neon Sign for Burnside Biscuits

Finally, we got to the fried chicken and biscuits. The chicken was juicy and moist on the inside, and the outside had absolutely no grease and was crunchy and crispy. That being said, I found that the batter lacked any pronounced flavor, so while it was good, it was not my favorite fried chicken in NYC. The biscuits, on the other, hand were delicious. They are made with duck fat (YES!). Each biscuit was about four inches in diameter. They were flaky, luscious from the duck fat, and just the slightest bit salty.

Background: Fried Chicken and Biscuits Lower Left Inset: Tea Thyme Upper Right Inset: Crusta

Background: Fried Chicken and Biscuits      Lower Left Inset: Tea Thyme      Upper Right Inset: Crusta

Accessibility Rating for Burnside Biscuits

I used my wheelchair to visit Burnside Biscuits. I need to preface this rating with the fact that I called the restaurant ahead of time twice to ask specifically if the restaurant and the bathroom are fully wheelchair accessible. Both times I was told that they are. It seems that due to the loose language in parts of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), they are able to say the restaurant is fully accessible because a person using a mobility-assisitve device could enter the main entrance and eat at one of the tables right there.

  • Entryway – 1: There is a somewhat narrow door at the main entrance. There is a slight ramp leading from the sidewalk up to the main door. There are no stairs at this entrance.  The transition from outside to inside is smooth. As our table was going to be in the main dining room, we were asked to exit via the main entrance and reenter through a side entrance. The reason for this was that there is a step down to the dining room from the bar area. Upon arriving at the side entrance, we found that there is a step, and they did not have a ramp. They termed it a “small step.” In the photo below, the side entrance has a step that is approximately six inches high, which is not small. I explained to them that according to ADA 1) any newly renovated business must be made 100% accessible and 2) any step greater than one-half inch requires some form of ramp to allow for passage of all types of mobility devices. Naturally, I, and many other users of mobility-assistive devices, prefer a permanent ramp, but portable ones are easy to find and purchase (click here to see many options). One of the managers offered to create a makeshift ramp out of shelving, but I declined due to safety concerns. This was also when they stated that the restaurant is technically accessible due to what I mentioned earlier about being able to access the small front area near the main entrance.

    Left: Main Entrance Right: Side Entrance (Caption on photo stating "Large Step without Ramp"

    Left: Main Entrance      Right: Side Entrance

  • Bathroom 0: The bathroom is off of the main dining room. Since I was unable to access this area, I have no choice but to give it a low rating. Twice during the evening, I had to use an accessible bathroom at a restaurant two blocks away.
  • Walkways/Space – 2: From the little that I was able to experience when we arrived and entered the main entrance, the waiting/bar area was tight and difficult to negotiate. Immediately upon entering, there is a host(ess) station within feet of the door. I bumped into this trying to get around it, and then my wheelchair took up almost the entire waiting area. As described earlier, the main dining area is inaccessible to many users of mobility-assistive devices due to the step down from the bar/waiting area and the step up from the outside. Again, this made the bathrooms inaccessible. From what I was able to ascertain from looking inside through the windows, the lighting in the main dining area appeared to be somewhat dim, and I was not able to assess the noise level in the dining area. I was barely able to fit underneath the table while sitting in my wheelchair.

    View of Bar/Waiting Area from Entrance with caption stating "Step down to dining room"

    View of Bar/Waiting Area from Entrance

  • Staff – 3: Two managers assisted us with our concerns about the restaurant’s lack of full accessibility. They did appear to be quite embarrassed by this. Particularly because I brought it to their attention that I called twice to ask about accessibility, and I was told that it is fully accessible both times. While they tried to be helpful, yet again, there seems to be a lack of education as to what full accessibility is and what it looks like. In my opinion, if you cannot access the bathroom in a restaurant, then it is not fully accessible. Upon being seated at our table outside, the managers did give us several unsolicited, free appetizers to compensate for the situation. While that was very nice, the restaurant needs to provide a ramp immediately to remedy this problem.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


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Brooklyn Pie Day – August 26, 2015

Brooklyn Pie Day – August 26, 2015

As my summer vacation winds down, I created a fun theme day for myself: Brooklyn Pie Day! I visited two restaurants on either end of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park that serve different kinds of pies. As I went through my day, I took photos and videos that documented my journey. You can view those by visiting my Instagram account (click here to view).

DUB Pies – Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn

I began my adventure at DUB Pies. According to their website:

“Down Under Bakery (DUB) Pies, established 2003, is proud to be the first specialty bakery to bring the authentic New Zealand-Australian experience — the culturally iconic meat pie — to New York City.” (http://www.dubpies.com/, 2015)

Not only are the pies available at their storefront, but they also have a food truck that brings them to various parts of NYC, as well as delivery and catering services. What is great is that they serve both hot pies to eat right away as well as frozen pies to bring home to heat up later.

I ordered a mince (ground beef) and cheese pie that I brought to nearby Prospect Park to enjoy outside for lunch. It cost $5.75. The pie was nice and warm, but not too hot, which I appreciated since it made it easy to eat using my hands. The filling was savory and loaded with the flavor of beef followed by the sharp aftertaste of white cheddar cheese. It was really enjoyable! The cheese helped the filling stay together and not ooze out after I took bites of the pie. The crust was light and flaky, but my only complaint was that it was quite soft. There were no crispy parts on the pie I ate, so the pie was a bit wobbly as I held it, and it lacked varied texture due to not having crispy parts of the crust.

Foreground: Mince & Cheese Pie from DUB Pies Background: Wall Inside DUB Pies

Foreground: Mince & Cheese Pie from DUB Pies      Background: Wall Inside DUB Pies

Accessibility Rating for DUB Pies

I used my wheelchair to visit DUB Pies.

  • Entryway – 3: There is one wide door at the entrance. There is a slight ramp outside leading up to the door. There are no stairs, and the transition from outside to inside is decent. The problem was that in order for me to enter or exit while in my wheelchair a patron had to move a bunch of stools out of the way. This is due to the restaurant’s small interior space, as described further below.

    Entrance to DUB Pies

    Entrance to DUB Pies

  • Bathroom N/A: There is no bathroom available for public use. Patrons tend to grab and go, even though there are a few tables where they can sit.
  • Walkways/Space – 2: As described in the Entrance section, several stools had to be moved out of the way for me to enter and exit. Once inside, there was basically room for me in my wheelchair with very little extra space around it. Due to this, there was no room for me to sit at a table inside, should I have wanted to do that. If it were not for the windows on two sides of the restaurant, it would be quite dim inside. Beyond some soft background music, there was no noise at the time I was there.

    Background: Interior of DUB Pies Inset: Pies on Display

    Background: Interior of DUB Pies      Inset: Pies on Display

  • Staff – 1: The staff was not helpful in terms of assisting me with my needs as a person in a wheelchair. There were two staff members behind the counter, and it was only myself and another patron inside. Instead of one of the staff members helping me get into and out of the restaurant, they both watched as the other patron helped. While I appreciate the kindness from the other patron, the staff should have at least offered to step in to help.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.

Four & Twenty Blackbirds Café – Brooklyn Public Library, Grand Army Plaza

After my lunch, I made my way through Prospect Park (The paths are not great for wheelchairs, and none of this is noted on any maps of the park. There are paths that are made with cobblestone-like tiles, and paths that end in curbs without curb cuts. I had to do a lot of backtracking). I headed to the Central Library of the Brooklyn Public Library. My reason for going there was the Four & Twenty Blackbirds Café inside. I had been meaning to go to their main pie shop in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn, but upon calling ahead I learned that there is a step in the front of their shop with no available ramp. Fortunately, they have a café in the atrium of the Central Library.

For months, I heard nothing but rave reviews of Four & Twenty Blackbirds’ pies, particularly their salted caramel apple pie. So, I capped off Brooklyn Pie Day by indulging in two slices of pie. Slices cost $5.00 each. I ordered the salted caramel apple pie, but another pie piqued my curiosity, so I had to try both. This second slice was matcha green tea pie.

I started with the matcha green tea pie with low expectations, but, WOW! This pie blew my mind! The first thing I saw was what looked like a grass green pudding in a pie crust. My curiosity pushed me forward, and I was so glad it did. It was so creamy and luscious. It was sweet and a tiny bit salty.  There was an herbaceous note from the green tea, but not in an overpowering way. The crust was light and flaky with perfect texture. It had crispy parts. I could not get enough of this pie.

Afterwards, I ate the salted caramel apple pie. I should have reversed the order in which I ate the pies because this pie was really good, but after the matcha green tea pie, it was a bit of a let down. Again, it had excellent crust. The apples were perfectly cooked, not droopy or limp like they can sometimes be in an apple pie. I enjoyed this pie, but the former pie was definitely my favorite.

Left: Slice of Salted Caramel Apple Pie Right: Slice of Matcha Green Tea Pie

Left: Slice of Salted Caramel Apple Pie      Right: Slice of Matcha Green Tea Pie

Accessibility Rating for Four & Twenty Blackbirds Café

I used my wheelchair to visit Four & Twenty Blackbirds Café.

  • Entryway – 5: There is a set wide doors at the entrance that have a button that opens both the exterior and interior doors. There are two ramps outside leading from the sidewalk up to the door. There are steps, but the ramps help patrons using mobility assistive devices avoid these.  The transition from outside to inside is smooth.

    Background: Entrance to Brooklyn Public Library/ Four & Twenty Blackbirds Cafe Inset: Ramp at Entrance

    Background: Entrance to Brooklyn Public Library/ Four & Twenty Blackbirds Cafe      Inset: Ramp at Entrance

  • Bathroom 4 (Men’s): There is one grab bar that wraps around two sides of the toilet. The stall itself is small, and I struggled to be able to make a 180º turn inside. Wheelchairs lower than mine will be able to fit underneath the sink. There are two sinks, one of which has long faucet handles. The space is well lit.
  • Walkways/Space – 4: The interior space is great! It is spacious with many tables available. The furniture is easily moved to provide space for people who use various mobility assistive devices. It is brightly lit, and the only noise comes from the patrons sitting in the atrium café area and those passing through. My only problem was that I struggled to read the menu as various machines on the counter blocked my view.

    Interior of Four & Twenty Blackbirds Cafe at the Brooklyn Public Library

    Interior of Four & Twenty Blackbirds Cafe at the Brooklyn Public Library

  • Staff – 5: The staff member who assisted me read the menu to me since it was hard to see (as described earlier). She provided a bag for me to make carrying my slices of pie easier.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


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The Disabled Foodie’s First Anniversary Celebration at the Queens Night Market

The Disabled Foodie’s First Anniversary Celebration at the Queens Night Market – August 15, 2015

The Disabled Foodie is one year old! Thank you for a great first year and your unflagging support. To celebrate, I went with my husband and our friend, Matthew, to the Queens Night Market (QNM). The market is New York’s first Asian-style night market featuring vendors selling food from around the world, art, and merchandise.

I have to thank John, the founder of the QNM, for working with me to make this a successful celebration. He was kind enough to allow us to skip the line to enter the event earlier than the rest of the crowd. I also need to thank Karl and Tammy, from Karl’s Balls, for their hospitality, and taking some of their valuable preparation time to speak to me about their food.

Karl, from Karl's Balls, with David, The Disabled Foodie     Photo Taken by Tammy from Karl's Balls

Karl, from Karl’s Balls, with David, The Disabled Foodie      Photo Taken by Tammy from Karl’s Balls

Additionally, I want to thank my friend Matthew for joining my husband and I at this incredible event. Finally, thank you to my husband for his never ending support on this amazing journey through food and disability.

I must begin by stating that QNM quickly became one of my favorite food venues because it is highly accessible, and the variety of food from around the world is a foodie’s dream come true. John, the founder of QNM, has curated an incredible selection of foods from around the world to rival the selection found at Smorgasburg. John told us that he hopes the QNM serves as a place where the community comes together, and it showed last night through the hundreds of people, including entire families, who came out. John and his team provide activities at the QNM for all ages: music and dance performances for adults, and games and temporary tattoo artists for children. Furthermore, there is no entrance fee, and most food items that we tried cost between $2.00 and $5.00 each. We shared almost everything we ate.

Karl’s Balls makes takoyaki.

Takoyaki is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special takoyaki pan. It is typically filled with minced or diced octopus (tako), tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion. Takoyaki are brushed with takoyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce) and mayonnaise, and then sprinkled with green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito (katsuobushi). (Wikipedia, 2015)

Karl prepares all of the octopi himself to be “sashimi-ready”. He and his team prepare all of the ingredients by hand, and the takoyaki are served in Karl’s “Man Mayo” and his “Ball Sauce,” which is smoky, fruity, spicy, and sweet. Forget any thoughts of rubbery octopus. Karl’s octopi are tender. The takoyaki were vibrant in flavor, wonderfully gooey on the inside, and were a fun way to start a great evening.

Takoyaki from Karl's Balls

Takoyaki from Karl’s Balls

Our next stop was the Burmese Bites booth where we tried the Burmese shaved ice dessert. This was another completely new experience for me! The shaved ice was combined with grass jelly, palm seeds, agar agar (gelatin made from seaweed), crushed peanuts, sweet syrup, and condensed milk. My friend, Matthew, said it best when he described the dessert as tasting, “like a frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” Not only did it taste delicious, but it was visually impressive.

Burmese Shaved Ice Dessert

Burmese Shaved Ice Dessert

The eating just kept going, as there were so many great things to try. At the Pancake Rolls booth, we tried both braised beef and honey pork pancake rolls. Both came on a freshly made scallion pancake with scallions, cucumber, cilantro (I asked for that to be left out of the honey pork roll), hoisin mayo, and pickled carrots. The pancake was perfectly flaky and had a great toothsome bite! There is a video on my Instagram account of the pancakes being prepared. (Click here to view that video.) I preferred the beef roll to the pork. While the sweetness of the pork was nice, the beef’s savory notes against the vegetables provided a satisfying contrast.

Inset: Pancake Roll with Beef Background: Pancake Roll Booth

Inset: Pancake Roll with Beef      Background: Pancake Roll Booth

At the Chiflez (pronounced Chee-flayz) booth, we had roasted, grilled corn with Peruvian sauce and seasonings. The corn was sweet and smoky from being charred on the grilled, The sauce was piquant and just slightly spicy. Finally, it was sprinkled with cheese and salt to add savory and salty notes. It was the best corn I have had so far this summer.

Inset: Chiflez Booth Background: Peruvian Corn from Chiflez

Inset: Chiflez Booth      Background: Peruvian Corn from Chiflez

And it just kept coming. At the Flauteria (pronounced Flau-teh-ree-ah) booth, they prepare Mexican food and drink. I had a cup of tart, sweet hibiscus tea, and we shared flautas (pronounced flau-tahs) filled with chicken. Flautas are similar to tacos, but they are formed into  cigar-like rolls. The chicken was so tasty and moist!

Top Inset: Jar of Hisbiscus Tea at Flauteria Bottom Inset: Chicken Flautas at Flauteria Background: Flauteria Booth

Top Inset: Jar of Hisbiscus Tea      Bottom Inset: Chicken Flautas      Background: Flauteria Booth

I am a huge fan of duck, and CBao did not disappoint with their mind-blowing Peking Duck Bao.

A baozi or simply known as bao, bau, humbow, nunu, bakpao (Hokkien), bausak, pow, pau or pao (Hakka) is a type of steamed, filled, bun or bread-like (i.e. made with yeast) item in various Chinese cuisines, as there is much variation as to the fillings and the preparations. In its bun-like aspect it is very similar to the traditional Chinese mantou. It can be filled with meat and/or vegetarian fillings. (Wikipedia, 2015)

The bao was fluffy and light. This worked beautifully with the tender, gamy duck that was carved at CBao’s booth right in front of me. The scallions and cucumbers added crunch, and the house sauce added a touch of umami flavor.

Inset: Peking Duck Bao Background: Cook at CBao Carving Duck

Inset: Peking Duck Bao      Background: Cook at CBao Carving Duck

The savory duck bao was followed up with a delectable Portuguese treat, Pastel de Nata (pronounced pah-stehl day nah-tah) from the MoNata booth. This small egg custard filled puff pastry tart packed luscious, creamy, sweet flavor into a bite-sized dessert. My friend, Matthew, who has been to Portugal twice, told us that he was able to find these all over his travels there.

Inset: Pastel de Nata Background: Sign at MoNata Booth

Inset: Pastel de Nata      Background: Sign at MoNata Booth

Finally, we tried a mango and raspberry crêpe from T-Swirl Crêpe. These rice flour crêpes are served with fruit and pastry creme. The fruit was fresh and juicy, and they did not overload the crêpe with the creme. (Click here to watch a short video of crêpes being made.)

Mango and Raspberry T-Swirl Crepe

Mango and Raspberry T-Swirl Crepe

Accessibility Rating for Queens Night Market

I used my wheelchair to visit QNM. This was the QNM’s last night at this location near the New York Hall of Science in Corona, Queens. QNM will be moving to Jamaica, Queens starting on September 5 for the remainder of this season.

  • Entryway – 5: The QNM is held in a parking lot. Since this is the case, the entry is smooth, and there are no stairs. It is the most accessible entrance a person with a disability could desire.

    Inset: QNM Welcome Banner Background: Aisle with Booths at QNM

    Inset: QNM Welcome Banner      Background: Aisle with Booths at QNM

  • Bathroom 4: There are wheelchair accessible port-a-potties in two locations at the QNM. There is a grab bar that wraps around the toilet. QNM provides stand-alone sinks with faucets that operate by using a foot pump. The foot pump is difficult for those who have limited or no use of their feet, but the fact that there are sinks at an outdoor venue is great! I was fortunate enough to have my husband help me with the sink.
  • Walkways/Space – 5: The aisles are wide and spacious. Even with hundreds of people all around, I had plenty of room to move around. During the daylight hours, the QNM was well lit, and due to humongous flood lamps, the same could be said for the night hours. The closer we were to the musicians and performers, the louder it was. But, overall, the noise level was not loud considering the size of the event and the number of attendees. (For a short video of the QNM click here.)

    Views of Booths and Aisles at QNM

    Views of Booths and Aisles at QNM

  • Staff – 5: The staff was welcoming and I encountered no issues. John was kind enough to allow us to enter the QNM a few minutes early to explore and meet with Karl and Tammy. Staff and security were available throughout the event to help people with any questions or concerns they might have.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


David Burke Kitchen – Soho, Manhattan

David Burke Kitchen – Soho, Manhattan – August 9, 2015

I love NYC Restaurant Week! Twice a year, New York City restaurants throw open their doors and lower their costs on three course, prix fixe menus. Lunch menus cost $25 per person, and dinner costs $38 per person. I only wish I had the monetary resources and unlimited time to try all of the restaurants that participate.

After looking over many menus, my husband and I chose to have lunch at David Burke Kitchen. We were excited about the large number of options available. Overall, it was a good lunch, but I was not blown away as I had hoped I would be.

From the list of appetizers, we selected the house-made ricotta and the chicken dumplings. The ricotta came with pickled strawberries, honey, black pepper, and toast. The ricotta was creamy, fresh, and had the perfect balance between smooth and grainy textures. I also detected a hint of lemon in the cheese. The strawberries, while pickled, still brought a vibrant sweetness along with the honey.

The chicken dumplings introduced a barbecue spin to Asian-style dumplings. They came with Jack cheese, schmaltz (chicken fat), cowboy barbecue sauce, and green onions. They were tasty, but the vinegar in the sauce dominated the entire dish’s flavor, which was disappointing.

For our entrees, we chose the Skuna Bay salmon and the crispy chicken thigh Caesar. The salmon came with sun choke and leek hummus, grilled zucchini, cucumber and radish, lemon, and olive oil. The salmon was perfectly cooked and delicious! The vegetables and hummus that it came with added crunch and brightness to the fish’s fresh flavor. The chicken in the Caesar salad was tender, juicy, and flavorful. The salad was decent, but I was not wowed by it.

Appetizers and Entrees Clockwise from Top Left: House-Made Ricotta, Chicken Dumplings, Crisp Chicken Thigh Caesar, and Skuna Bay Salmon Background: Woven Leather

Appetizers and Entrees Clockwise from Top Left: House-Made Ricotta, Chicken Dumplings, Crisp Chicken Thigh Caesar, and Skuna Bay Salmon      Background: Woven Leather

Dessert was the best part of the meal. We chose the cheesecake lollipop tree for two to share. It came with a variety of lollipops: cherry pink cashmere, triple chocolate tuxedo, and toffee top hat. The cheesecake itself was creamy and tangy. The toppings were crispy and crunchy, and it came with light and fluffy strawberry whipped cream. We both detected a hint of sage in the whipped cream, which brought an herbaceous element to this indulgent dessert.

Cheesecake Lollipop Tree

Cheesecake Lollipop Tree

Accessibility Rating for David Burke Kitchen

I used my wheelchair to visit David Burke Kitchen.

    • Entryway – 5: The entrance has one set of wide doors at the main entrance. There are no stairs. Once inside the main doors, there is an elevator available to go down to the restaurant or up to the Treehouse Bar.

      Entrance

      Entrance

    • Bathroom (Men’s) 4: The accessible stall is enormous. I was able to turn my wheelchair around a full 360° within the stall. There are two grab bars around the toilet, and I was able to fit comfortably underneath the sink while in my wheelchair. The faucet had one handle that was of a moderate length. The bathroom is dimly lit.
    • Walkways/Space – 4: The main pathways are easily passable when the restaurant is not crowded. I was able to fit comfortably underneath the table while seated in my wheelchair. The space is well lit due to many windows along one side of the restaurant. The music got progressively louder as our time in the restaurant passed.

      Left: Bar Area Inside Restaurant     Right: Interior of Restaurant     Background: Wood Ceiling

      Left: Bar Area Inside Restaurant       Right: Interior of Restaurant      Background: Wood Ceiling

    • Staff – 5: The staff asked me what I would need to be comfortable, and after explaining that I would prefer a table with space for my wheelchair and space around it, the hostess gave me a choice of tables. She pulled the chair away from the table I selected, and she waited for me to make sure I fit comfortably at the table. The hostess even offered to push two tables together, so that we could have more space. I declined this kind offer.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


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The Disabled Foodie’s New England Vacation – July 28 – August 2, 2015

The Disabled Foodie’s New England Vacation – July 28 – August 2, 2015

This past week, I vacationed with my husband in Rhode Island. We also took a side trip for his birthday to have dinner with friends in Dorchester, Massachusetts. It was lovely to get away and enjoy a change of scenery and some fresh ocean air. Naturally, I had to review a few places, including the introduction of a new type of venue as you will see.


Meritage – East Greenwich, Rhode Island – July 28, 2015

Meritage is a lovely restaurant in the suburbs of Providence, Rhode Island. They are known for their thin crust pizzas. We arrived there for dinner on the first night of our vacation.

Dinner started with the lobster macaroni and cheese. The creamy casserole was loaded with huge chunks of sweet, briny lobster. Some places skimp on the lobster in their lobster macaroni and cheese, but Meritage did not. It was perfectly creamy and cheesy, and crumbled crackers added just the right amount of crunchy texture.

Next came the portobello mushroom thin crust pizza and the house salad with bleu cheese dressing. The pizza had tiny cubes of sautéed portobello mushrooms, tomatoes, and caramelized onions. The crust was crisp. The earthiness of the mushrooms was lusciously balanced by the sweetness of the onions. While the salad was beautiful and filled with plenty of vegetables, I did not detect one bit of bleu cheese flavor in the dressing. That was disappointing since the other two dishes were so good.

Left: Lobster Macaroni and Cheese     Center: Portobello Mushroom Pizza     Right: House Salad

Left: Lobster Macaroni and Cheese      Center: Portobello Mushroom Pizza      Right: House Salad

Accessibility Rating for Meritage

I used my wheelchair to visit Meritage.

    • Entryway – 5: The entrance has one wide door with a slight bump. There are no stairs. The outside entry is covered, which is nice during inclement weather.

      Entrance

      Entrance

    • Bathroom (Men’s) 1: The accessible stall is not accessible at all. While I was able to enter the bathroom, I was completely unable to get my wheelchair into the accessible stall. There are two grab bars around the toilet, but there is a large piece of furniture inside the stall which blocks wheelchair access. Additionally, the stall door swings open toward the toilet, which blocked off any possible accessible pathway to the toilet. The bathroom was brightly lit. The faucet had long handles on it, and I was able to fit underneath the sink in my wheelchair.
    • Walkways/Space – 3: The pathways are easily passable when the restaurant is not crowded. The space was quite dark, and there was loud music and talking contributing to a noisier setting at the time we were there. I was unable to fit underneath the table while in my wheelchair, so I had to transfer to a chair.

      Left: Seating area Right: Bar area

      Left: Seating area      Right: Bar area

    • Staff – 5: The staff offered me the option of remaining in my wheelchair or transferring to a chair at the table. They waited patiently while I tried to fit underneath the table in my wheelchair. Upon finding that this did not work, they offered to help me transfer to a chair. Additionally, the hostess was very open to my complaints about the bathroom’s accessible stall not being accessible at all. She told me that she would inform the manager about the problems.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.

 Tavolo – Dorchester, Massachusetts – July 29, 2015

My husband chose Tavolo in Dorchester, Massachusetts for his birthday dinner with our friends who live there. The menu sounded very good, so we were excited to dine there.

To start the meal, we shared an antipasto plate. This came with Prosciutto di Parma, Genovese, cured olives, asiago cheese, mozzarella, marinated roasted peppers, and Tuscan beans. The meats were salty and savory while the cheeses were fresh and creamy. Everything on the plate was good, but nothing really blew me away.

I chose the seared potato gnocchi with applewood smoked duck, charred scallions, and pecorino. I always become excited over a dish with duck, and applewood smoked duck was particularly intriguing to me. Unfortunately, the dish was mediocre. The gnocchi were seared perfectly and had a delightful creamy texture. The duck lacked any duck flavor. I actually thought I was eating pork at one point, which indicated that the duck lacked its characteristic gamy flavor which is what I enjoy so much. For $22, this dish was disappointing and overpriced.

Left: Antipasto Plate Right: Seared Potato Gnocchi

Left: Antipasto Plate      Right: Seared Potato Gnocchi

I have to give credit to Sweet Tooth Bakery in Boston. I arranged for them to make a cake for my husband’s birthday, and deliver it to Tavolo. They made a scrumptious vanilla cake with lemon butter cream and cream cheese filling. The cake was so light, fluffy, and moist. The lemon flavor was bright, but not overpowering. I emailed them photos of our two dogs, and they created fondant sculptures of them for the cake. The sculptures looked just like them!

Birthday Cake with Fondant Sculptures of Our Dogs on Top

Birthday Cake with Fondant Sculptures of Our Dogs on Top

Accessibility Rating for Tavolo

I used my wheelchair to visit Tavolo.

    • Entryway – 5: The entrance has one set of wide doors on the outside, and then one wide door in the vestibule. There are no stairs.The transition from the sidewalk to the interior is smooth.

      Entrance

      Entrance

    • Bathroom 3: The designated accessible bathroom has two grab bars around the toilet. I was able to turn my wheelchair around easily within the bathroom. I was not able to get close to the sink while in my wheelchair, but it does have an automatic faucet. The bathroom is dimly lit.
    • Walkways/Space – 3: Some of the spaces within the restaurant were tight and took some effort to get through while using my wheelchair. I was able to fit comfortably underneath the table while in my wheelchair. The restaurant is dimly lit,andat the time we dined there they had low music playing in the background. Most of the sound came from talking patrons.

      Interior Space

      Interior Space

    • Staff – 3: The staff removed a chair for me at the table ahead of our arrival as I had told them I would be using my wheelchair when I made a reservation. They did not let me select where I sat, as they had already done that for me. They did choose an appropriate area with more space around it, but I would have preferred being allowed to make my own decision. Beyond that, they did not offer help to me in any way.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.

Culinary Arts Museum – Providence, Rhode Island – July 31, 2015

I was excited to learn that Johnson & Wales University has a Culinary Arts Museum on campus that is open to the public. Our tour book for Rhode Island made it sound like this is a tiny museum, but it turned out to be quite large, and it is incredibly interesting for those who love all things having to do with food.

Clockwise from Top Left: Old-style Frankfurter Cart, Sign for Stanley's, Student's Pastry and Chocolate Work, Old-style Bar, State Fair/Carnival Exhibit, and Ice Cream Soda Counter

Clockwise from Top Left: Old-style Frankfurter Cart, Sign for Stanley’s, Student’s Pastry and Chocolate Work, Old-style Bar, State Fair/Carnival Exhibit, and Ice Cream Soda Counter

The museum has a great deal of things on display including an exhibit about diners, which includes the Ever Ready Diner (You can view the actual diner, which is not accessible, though I was able to see inside from my wheelchair). They have exhibits about travel and food, food preparation throughout the ages, chefs, and the list goes on and on. An adult ticket costs $7.

Foreground from Left to Right: Front Entrance to Ever Ready Diner and Side Entrance to Ever Ready Diner Background: Moody's Diner sign

Foreground from Left to Right: Front Entrance to Ever Ready Diner and Side Entrance to Ever Ready Diner      Background: Moody’s Diner sign

Accessibility Rating for Culinary Arts Museum

I used my wheelchair to visit Culinary Arts Museum.

    • Entryway – 5: There is a ramp up to the entrance. There are designated accessible parking spots near the foot of the ramp. The wide doors have a button that can be used to open them automatically. There are no stairs. The transition from the outside to the interior is smooth. (I apologize that I do not have a photograph of the entrance.)
    • Bathroom (Men’s) 5: The designated accessible stall has two grab bars around the toilet. I was able to turn my wheelchair around within the stall. I was able to get close to the sink while in my wheelchair. The faucet has long handles. The bathroom is brightly lit.
    • Walkways/Space – 4: The museum is spacious and has wide pathways throughout. The museum is well lit for the most part, though there are some darker areas. It was almost silent when we visited. The only problems were that some exhibits are placed up high making them difficult to see from a wheelchair, and the Ever Ready Diner is not wheelchair accessible.

      Inset and Background: Interior of Culinary Arts Museum

      Inset and Background: Interior of Culinary Arts Museum

    • Staff – 3: The staff member (who appeared to be a student) pointed out that the entire museum is on one level. There was no offer to help beyond that should I have required any assistance.
  • Braille Documents: The staff member I spoke to at the time (who appeared to be a student) did not know if there is any information printed in Braille for blind visitors. She did not offer to find out.

Mediterraneo Caffe – Providence, Rhode Island – July 31, 2015

After visiting the Culinary Arts Museum, we were both really hungry, so we went to Federal Hill, an area of Providence known for its Italian restaurants. Our guide book suggested dining at Mediterraneo Caffe, so that is what we did. I am really glad we ate here, as the food was great!

We arrived in time for their prix fixe lunch. For $17.95, you get a choice of one of three salads, a choice of an entree, and either tiramisu, gelato, or sorbet. I started with a delicious Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella, ripe, red tomatoes, and floral basil. The balsamic vinegar drizzled on top was deliciously sweet. This was a Caprese salad done right.

I selected the penne al pesto as my entree. The al dente pasta came in a creamy pesto with sun-dried and grape tomatoes. This dish was so good. The bright basil flavor worked in harmony with the nutty pine nuts and the cream.

My husband and I shared a side of cold green beans. The beans were a beautiful bright green, and they were in a vinaigrette that brought an even brighter flavor to the dish.

The tiramisu was luscious and bursting with the flavor of espresso. The lady fingers were soft and nutty from soaking in amaretto liquer. What was a pleasant surprise was the complimentary shot of house made limoncello that came after dessert. The bright lemon flavor was a great palate cleanser after this fantastic meal.

Foreground Clockwise from Top Left: Caprese Salad, Penne Al Pesto, Tiramisu, and Cold String Beans Background: Exterior of Mediterraneo

Foreground Clockwise from Top Left: Caprese Salad, Penne Al Pesto, Tiramisu, and Cold String Beans      Background: Exterior of Mediterraneo Caffe

Accessibility Rating for Mediterraneo Caffe

I used my wheelchair to visit Mediterraneo Caffe.

    • Entryway – 5: There are wide exterior and interior doors at the entrance. There are no stairs. The transition from the sidewalk to the restaurant is smooth.

      Entrance

      Entrance

    • Bathroom (Women’s is the designated accessible bathroom) 2: The designated accessible stall has one grab bar next to the toilet. I was unable to turn my wheelchair around within the bathroom. I was not able to get close to the sink while in my wheelchair. The faucet has standard length handles. The bathroom is brightly lit.
    • Walkways/Space – 3: The main pathways within the restaurant are wide, though the spaces off of the pathways could be tight for some. I was able to fit comfortably underneath the table while in my wheelchair. The lighting is brighter near the windows than further inside the restaurant. They were playing light jazz quietly in the background at the time we dined there.

      Interior Views

      Interior Views

    • Staff – 4: A staff member removed a chair from the table so I could sit in my wheelchair at the table. Upon our arrival, I needed to use the bathroom, and the staff member sent me to an inaccessible bathroom off of the bar. When I brought this to her attention, she kept apologizing for not thinking about this. She immediately offered the use of the designated accessible women’s bathroom.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


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Bachue – Jackson Heights, Queens

Bachue – Jackson Heights, Queens – July 18, 2015

I approached the newest restaurant in Jackson Heights with enthusiasm. Bachue (pronounced bah-chew-ay) is a new addition to the restaurant scene in this dynamic neighborhood. I was immediately taken aback upon viewing the menu. It was much more expensive than I had anticipated. Entrees ranged in price from $15 to the high $20s.

My husband and I dined at Bachue with our friend, Tony, this past weekend. For my entree, I ordered the Typical Antioqueña Platter (pronounced ahn-tee-oh-ken-yah, referring to a region in Colombia). It came with a choice of grilled chicken or steak (I chose the chicken), a quarter of an avocado, white rice with an egg prepared sunny side up, a sausage, red beans in a miniature Dutch oven, sweet plantains, and chicarron (pronounced chee-char-ron, deep fried pork skin and meat). While it was a great deal of food, overall it was mediocre. The highlights were the juicy, tender, and flavorful chicken, the sausage, which tasted as if it had what I thought might be cumin (one of my favorite spices), and the creamy, rich avocado.  Chicharron is often fried to the point where it feels like you might break your teeth on it, so I did not enjoy that. The rice was dry and crunchy, even after breaking the egg yolk over it. The beans were unremarkable, though unlike how they are prepared in other restaurants, they were not salty.

I tried some of my husband’s dish. He ordered roast pork with vegetable rice and sweet plantains. It came wrapped in a banana leaf. While the pork was tender, it was bland. The rice was excessively oily.

For the prices they charge, I had hoped for higher quality food. This was disappointing since they scored relatively well in terms of accessibility.

Left to Right: Typical Antioquena Platter and Roast Pork with Vegetable Rice and Sweet Plantains

Left to Right: Typical Antioquena Platter and Roast Pork with Vegetable Rice and Sweet Plantains

Accessibility Rating for Bachue

I used my wheelchair to visit Bachue.

    • Entryway – 5: The entrance has one set of wide doors with a ramp up to them. There are no stairs.

      Entrance

      Entrance

    • Bathroom 4: The designated accessible bathroom is spacious and brightly lit. There are two grab bars around the toilet. I could not get close to the sink due to it having a floor-length panel in front of it. Additionally, the handles on the faucet are tiny and difficult to reach.
    • Walkways/Space – 3: The restaurant is spacious, and there is plenty of room to move around in no matter what kind of mobility assistive device one uses. The furniture is easily moved to accommodate different patrons’ requirements. I fit comfortably underneath the table while seated in my wheelchair. If crowded, the space could possibly become difficult to navigate. The dining area is dimly lit, and it was very noisy while we were there due to loud music being played. This was odd since the restaurant was almost empty.

      Left: Dining area     Right: Bar

      Left: Dining area      Right: Bar

    • Staff – 4: The staff moved chairs out of the way so that I could access the table. A staff member also helped me open the designated accessible bathroom’s door.
    • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


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El Paso Restaurante Mexicano – Spanish Harlem, Manhattan

El Paso Restaurante Mexicano – Spanish Harlem, Manhattan – July 5, 2015

After visiting the Museum of the City of New York this morning, my husband and I had planned to visit El Museo del Barrio which is right next door. Not only did we hope to see their fantastic exhibits, but my husband told me that the café there is really good. El Museo del Barrio and their café turned out to be closed, so we headed over to Lexington Avenue to find other options.

We came upon El Paso Restaurante Mexicano, and decided to try it. They were offering both their brunch and lunch menus at the time we were there. All of the options we selected were from the brunch menu, and as my readers know, we shared all of the dishes, so that we were able to taste more.

For an appetizer, we started with the kale salad. The kale was topped with quinoa, cherry tomatoes, avocado, pickled lemon skin, pumpkin seeds, and golden raisins. It was all topped with a light citrus dressing. The kale was well cleaned and dried, so it held on to the dressing beautifully. The highlights of this salad were the creamy avocado, the nutty pumpkin seeds, and the unexpected, acidic tang from the pickled lemon skin, which was a delectable touch.

We selected two entrees: Molletes (prounounced moh-yeh-tays) and Huevos Divorciados (pronounced way-vohs dee-vor-see-ah-dohs). The molletes were made with bolillo bread (pronounced boh-lee-yoh, and is similar to French bread), chorizo, pinto beans, eggs (we ordered them scrambled), pico de gallo, and a mixed green salad. The chorizo (in this case, it was Mexican style sausage) was disappointingly flavorless. The bread was fluffy, but also flavorless. The most flavorful parts of the dish were the pico de gallo, tomatillo, and guajillo (a type of chile) salsas. These sauces added acidic and smoky notes to an otherwise bland dish. The dish was also lacking in texture. Finally, the mixed green salad was too salty for my taste.

The huevos divorciados were slightly better. These eggs (ordered scrambled again) came over crispy tostadas with carnitas (stewed pork), grilled tomatoes, pinto beans, tomatillo and guajillo salsas, queso fresco, onions, and sour cream. I found this dish to be slightly better than the molletes. It benefited from the crispy tostadas, which gave it some texture, and again, the smoky guajillo salsa and piquante tomatillo salsa added flavor the dish was otherwise lacking.

Clockwise from top left: Kale Salad, Molletes, and Huevos Divorciados Background: Bar

Clockwise from top left: Kale Salad, Molletes, and Huevos Divorciados      Background: Bar

Accessibility Rating for El Paso Restaurante Mexicano

I used my wheelchair to visit El Paso Restaurante Mexicano.

  • Entryway – 4: The entrance has two wide doors (one outer door and one inner door). There is a slight bump at the outer door. Once inside the outer door, you must turn to get into the vestibule, and then, turn again to get inside the restaurant. I was able to do this with minimal difficulty.

    Entrance with arrow indicating slight bump at entrance

    Entrance

  • Bathroom 2: The bathroom (Women’s) is the one the restaurant has designated as accessible. There are no grab bars around the toilet. The sink has long faucet handles, though I could not fit underneath the sink while in my wheelchair. The room was very small. Once I was inside with the wheelchair, there was barely any room left inside. The bathroom is moderately lit.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The space has one main walkway which is right next to the bar. When there are people seated at the bar and the adjacent tables, there is probably little space for any type of mobility assistive device. The tables were a decent height. I was able to remain in my wheelchair and fit comfortably under the table. The staff had to move bar stools, chairs, and tables to make room for me to get to and from the bathroom. The lighting is moderate, so I imagine it would be dim during the night. When we arrived, the noise level was low, as there were only a few occupied tables. There was some background music playing. Once the restaurant filled up, the noise level was a bit higher.

    Interior

    Interior

  • Staff – 3: The staff was decent. They let us select the table that worked best for me. As mentioned before, they moved furniture out of the way so that I was able to access the bathroom. Beyond that, they did not ask how they could help me in any way.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.


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Delillo Pasticceria – Little Italy, Bronx

Delillo Pasticceria – Little Italy, Bronx – May 24, 2015

In my opinion, there are few things better than a decadent, creamy, luscious pastry. I am a huge fan of French and Italian pastries. Delillo Pasticceria in Little Italy in the Bronx gets it right. We have ordered their cakes with their mind-blowing cannoli filling many times for various celebrations. So, it was time to visit as The Disabled Foodie, and write a proper review. (Due to dim lighting inside, I had to lighten all photos taken inside Delillo Pasticceria.)

After visiting the lovely Frida Kahlo exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden, my husband and I walked to Delillo Pasticceria in the Bronx’s Little Italy. This area of the Bronx is a short walk from both the New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo.

I knew what I was going to order before I even arrived at Delillo Pasticceria: a cannoli. As I mentioned before, the cannoli filling is incredible. The cannoli shell was light and crispy, and the filling was creamy, sweet, and slightly tangy. I was in pastry heaven. Since we go there so infrequently, we decided to order gelato too. We ordered a scoop of chocolate and one of hazelnut. They were both perfectly dense and rich. The chocolate was dark and slightly bitter, while the hazelnut tasted just like eating a handful of hazelnuts. It was a luxurious treat.

    Left: Cannoli      Right: Chocolate (left) and Hazelnut (right) Gelato

Left: Cannoli      Right: Chocolate (left) and Hazelnut (right) Gelato

Accessibility Rating for Delillo Pasticceria

I used my wheelchair to visit Delillo Pasticceria.

  • Entryway – 5: The entrance has one wide door. There is a tiny bump at the door. During the warmer months, there is outdoor seating, but the path to the door is wide enough for anyone using a mobility assistive device to get to the door.

    Inset: Entrance     Background: Delillo's Sign and Outdoor Seating

    Inset: Entrance      Background: Delillo’s Sign and Outdoor Seating

  • Bathroom 4: The women’s bathroom is the accessible bathroom. There are three grab bars (one vertical and two horizontal) around the toilet. The sink has standard length faucet handles. I had no problem fitting my wheelchair in the bathroom, nor did I have any problem turning my wheelchair around inside. The bathroom is dimly lit, which could be problematic for those with visual impairments.
  • Walkways/Space – 2: The one and only aisle is wide and easy to navigate when the restaurant is not crowded. The furniture is easily moved and adjusted to accommodate people’s needs. I was able to sit at the table in my wheelchair once my footrests were folded up. The inside of the store was dimly lit, which could be problematic for those with visual impairments. The noise level inside at the time we were there was minimal, only coming from talking patrons. A problem I experienced was that there was a large metal set of shelves blocking the turn to the hallway to the bathroom. So, even though they have an accessible bathroom, they had effectively prevented me from accessing it. Fortunately, another patron was amazingly kind. He got out of his seat and pushed the shelving out of the way. In this way, I was able to access the bathroom. The low score in this area resulted from the restaurant’s lack of forethought regarding important details like this.

    Clockwise from Top Left: Tables, Main Walkway, Cakes on Display, and Various Pastries and Cakes on Display

    Clockwise from Top Left: Tables, Main Walkway, and Various Pastries and Cakes on Display

  • Staff – 1: The staff did not react to my being in a wheelchair one way or another. They brought our food to the table after ordering at the counter, but this was done for all patrons. A huge problem was that they did not react at all to my inability to access the bathroom, even when the aforementioned patron was pushing the shelving out of the way. In my opinion, the staff should have been the ones to fix the problem, not the kind patron who did it. The restaurant owner(s) should have had the forethought not to have created this problem in the first place.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.

 


De Lillo's Pastry Shop on Urbanspoon

UFC (Unidentified Flying Chickens) – Jackson Heights, NY

 UFC (Unidentified Flying Chickens) – Jackson Heights, NY – May 22, 2015

UFC (Unidentified Flying Chickens) has brought new and exciting flavor to Jackson Heights. In a neighborhood dominated by South American and South Asian cuisines, UFC has brought the savory, crispy goodness of Korean fried chicken. Sadly, in terms of accessibility, they did not score well, as you will read.

My husband and I met our friend Tony at UFC at 7:30 PM (on a Friday night). We had to wait outside for between 15 and 20 minutes for a table. There was no room inside for us to wait, especially for me in my wheelchair.

When we were seated, we perused their extensive beer and cider selection. Since the bathroom was downstairs and inaccessible to me (See Accessibility Rating below), I consumed almost no liquid. This was disappointing because there were many things that piqued my curiosity. Both my husband and Tony ordered a Kopparberg Pear Cider. I had a tiny sip of my husband’s. This Swedish made cider was sweet, but not too sweet. It was like biting into a perfectly ripe, fresh pear. When it was poured into a glass its clear color and bubbles made it resemble champagne or seltzer. I definitely would have enjoyed being able to drink a bottle of my own.

According to Wikipedia (2015), what makes Korean fried chicken different is:

Korean fried chicken differs from typical American fried chicken by being fried twice. This results in the skin being crunchier and less greasy. Furthermore, Korean-style chicken is not characterized by the crags and crusty nubs associated with American fried chicken as described by Julia Moskin of The New York Times as a “thin, crackly and almost transparent”. The chickens are usually seasoned with spices, sugar, and salt, prior to and after being fried. Korean fried chicken restaurants commonly use small- or medium-sized chicken, in other words, younger chickens resulting in more tender meat.

We each ordered the same thing: one-half fried chicken with soy garlic sauce and a side salad. We shared a large order of sweet potato fries. The chicken is the reason to come to or order from UFC. We have ordered takeout from UFC a number of times, but the chicken was crispier and juicier in the restaurant. When it has been brought to our house, it cooled down and became slightly soggy, but it was still delicious. The soy garlic sauce has the deep, satisfying, umami flavor from the soy and the pungency of the garlic. It’s difficult to stop eating it because it’s addictive. The salad had greens, onions, and grape tomatoes in a French-type dressing. The vegetables were crisp and fresh. There was just enough dressing for the amount of salad in the bowl. Finally, the sweet potato fries were large. They were sweet and starchy. I would have enjoyed them a little more if they were crispier. They came with an overly sweet honey mustard sauce, and we also requested ketchup.

Food and Drink Top: Korean Fried Chicken with Soy Garlic Sauce Bottom (From Left to Right): Kopparberg Pear Cider, Side Salad, and Sweet Potato Fries Background: Wall Inside UFC with Cartoon Chalk-style Images

Food and Drink      Top: Korean Fried Chicken with Soy Garlic Sauce      Bottom (From Left to Right): Kopparberg Pear Cider, Side Salad, and Sweet Potato Fries      Background: Wall Inside UFC

Accessibility Rating for UFC

I used my wheelchair to visit UFC.

  • Entryway – 2: The entrance has two doors with a vestibule in between. At the first door, there is a high threshold. I needed help getting my chair over it to enter. Within the vestibule, there was an unexpected bump. The doors were wide enough to accommodate my wheelchair, but the vestibule was just wide enough to fit it.

    Entrance with arrow pointing to high threshold

    Entrance

  • Bathroom 1: The bathroom is downstairs, and there is no elevator. It is completely inaccessible to people using mobility assistive devices including wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers.
  • Walkways/Space – 3: The one and only aisle is wide and easy to navigate when the restaurant is not crowded. The furniture is easily moved and adjusted to accommodate people’s needs. It was a tight fit for me to sit at the table in my wheelchair. The tops of my legs were pressing into the bottom of the table. As night came, the front of the restaurant (near the window) became quite dark. This could pose a problem for people with visual impairments. There was music playing in the background. It was at what seemed to me to be medium volume, so it could be potentially difficult for people with hearing impairments.

    Interior

    Interior

  • Staff – 2: The staff was helpful in terms of moving chairs away from the table so I could be seated at the table. They reacted with indifference to my statement that the bathroom was inaccessible to me and other people with disabilities. Had they not helped with the chairs, they would have received the lowest score of 1.
  • Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.

 


Unidentified Flying Chickens on Urbanspoon